EPSRC Instructions

Present the science that will be enabled by the proposed Statement of Need. Applicants should provide evidence of the quality of research to be enabled and the research areas which will be supported alongside why this facility/large infrastructure capability is now needed and will be needed over the proposed 5 years of running.
If this would enable cross-disciplinary research, please state which other council's remit(s) this would fall.
(6,000 characters incl. spaces)


Ion Irradiation, implantation & analysis facilities have been provided, in the UK since 1978 through the Surrey Ion Beam Centre and more recently via the UK National Ion Beam Centre, with the addition of Huddersfield and Manchester Universities. Generally, >4300 hours of beam-time per year have been provided to UK researchers. Over the past 4 years beam-time has supported more than £100M of EPSRC grants across Energy, Engineering, ICT, Physical Sciences and Health Care Technologies themes and more than 30 companies have obtained access. The facilities support projects ranging from processing of semiconductor, opto, photonic and quantum devices to the emulation of long-term neutron irradiation of reactor materials.

Much of this work directly impacts upon wealth creation and provides a vehicle for prototyping and developing new materials in these industries. The analytical capability of ion beams also provides high accuracy elemental and structural information about thin film technological materials. This is also used for biomedical applications observing both the interaction of energetic ions with cells and in determining the uptake and positioning of nanoparticles and trace elements in cells and tissue. Ion beam facilities are invaluable to many R&D programs across the UK, including:

  1. Silicon photonics: Recent EPSRC awards supporting silicon photonics (Southampton, Glasgow and Rockley) are reliant on implantation. Silicon photonics is a key integrating technology to bringing photonics to the mass markets, the UK currently still has the technical advantage in this field and access to state-of-the-art processing equipment within the UK is vital to maintaining that position.
  2. Power Devices: Groups working with SiC (Warwick, Newcastle), GaN (Cardiff, INEX) and Si (Manchester) power devices (and companies such as Raytheon) all currently use ion implantation for fabrication and Ion Beam Analysis to aid interpretation. Devices requiring this technology are gaining more use to meet the needs of DC to AC power invertors and high-power switching systems for green energy applications. Ion implantation is a critical fabrication step for the development of devices because of the low diffusivity of dopants in the dense lattice, high energy implantation at elevated temperatures is particularly critical to this community to help with this.
  3. III-V Devices: R&D in III-V devices for photonic applications is still strong in the UK (Surrey, Sheffield). Many of the results and findings from previous research programs have been transferred to industrial suppliers (Lumentum, Coherent, Eblana and PRP Opto) all of which currently utilise ion beam facilities in the UK. This work is varied in requirement from the provision of doped structures deep below the surface to the exploitation of the positive attributes of defect structures created lifetime adjustment, carrier removal and isolation. All require access to ion implantation and analysis tools.
  4. Group IV Substrates: Groups at Cambridge, Manchester, Huddersfield and Surrey are investigating the exploitation of ion beam processing in the fabrication of graphene layers and rely on implantation coupled with in situ monitoring equipment. Implantation for Si is still in demand (Southampton, Dublin, Keele, Hitachi, Rockley). Also see below.
  5. Quantum Technologies: Ion implantation is used to produce N-V centres in diamond (Bristol, Exeter, Element6) and for placing of dopant atoms at well-defined positions (Surrey, UCL, Oxford, Exeter) for other solid state quantum devices. There is a growing interest supported by the commissioning of two single ion implanters at the UKNIBC. The UKNIBC is pursuing the use of implantation to provide 28Si enriched surface layers required for Si based quantum devices.
  6. Materials for Nuclear Power Generation (Oxford, Sheffield, Liverpool, Loughborough, Imperial College, Huddersfield and Manchester) have extensive research programmes on the radiation effects in materials for use in the nuclear industry. They are employing ion beams to simulate the cascade damage induced by high neutron fluxes and the generation of transmutation products. Ion beams provide a vital means of studying long-term stability of materials under irradiation as it is very difficult to scale up a neutron source to provide the high doses required in reasonable timescales. High energy beams capable of penetrating deep into the material to avoid side effects caused by the proximity of a free surface are an essential requirement. In addition simultaneous bombardment with two, or more beams, is of great importance when determining the stability of a material against the combined effects of radiation damage and transmutation products. In order to gain insights into the dynamics of defect creation and evolution over a broad temperature the in-situ TEM ion-accelerator facility (MIAMI) provides a unique and essential contribution. UK groups (Oxford, Sheffield, Huddersfield and Manchester) use the existing equipment along with overseas users (CEA, AREVA and the Universities of Illinois and Notre Dame).
  7. Other Materials: Unique procedures have been established by Surrey and Oxford for analysis of the metallic content of proteins for which there is no other suitable technique available. Recent measurements have demonstrated that the on-line protein database contains errors on more than 50% of the recorded proteins. Projects (Manchester, Southampton and Strathclyde) in health care technologies are being supported by these facilities. Anti-fouling surfaces for industrial heat exchangers have successfully been fabricated for the University of Dundee using ion implantation techniques with savings in reduced fuel consumption and maintenance. New high-resolution Ion Beam Analysis equipment due for commissioning in 2021 will expand these capabilities still further.


2020-09-15 08:52:35

Do you want to mention industrialisation of Geoff and Elspeth's technique by pharma companies? What about the mass spec related topics in forensics and bio that Mel/Catia are working on?


2020-09-15 14:35:04

Ran out of space... Will have to shorten/combine some bits I think.


2020-10-09 21:13:35

Hi! In the "Quantum Technology" section, can you guys add Heriot-Watt under "NV centres in diamond" and maybe mention also "silicon vacancies/divancancies in SiC" in the same sentence? I haven't use the facility yet but plan to start very soon!


2020-10-10 12:20:12

'trace elements in cells and tissue.' could be changed to 'trace elements in cells, proteins and tissue.' to link with mention of proteins later.

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